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Hobbs-type artificial left hand, Europe, 1918

Painted flesh coloured for a realistic appearance, the index and middle finger of this prosthetic left hand are jointed and can move towards the thumb, which along with the other two fingers is immobile. The hand was made by a man named Hobbs, a contractor employed at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Roehampton, England. This institution was established in 1915 to deal with the growing number of amputees returning from fighting the First World War. Hobbs applied for a patent for this design in 1918. Improvements and innovations in the design and materials of artificial limbs occurred during the First World War, during which over 41,000 British servicemen lost one or more limbs

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Glossary: prostheses

Artificial body parts, or materials inserted into tissue for functional, cosmetic, or therapeutic effect. Prostheses can be functional (artificial arms and legs), or cosmetic (artificial eye).

Glossary: artificial hand

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